The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District reported Tuesday it issued more than four times as many no-burning declarations in Kern County between November and February than it did during the same period in 2020-21.
The air district said it put out 44 declarations telling the public no one in the county is permitted to burn solid fuel during the four-month Check Before You Burn season that ended Sunday. It issued only 10 such statements in Kern during the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, notices of violations issued in Kern rose 11 percent from 66 in the 2019-20 period to 72 in 2020-21.
The notification system is intended to reduce the severity of air pollution on days when airborne particulate matter 2.5 microns and smaller reach harmful levels. The air district says PM2.5, as such pollution is called, aggravates heart and lung diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
The agency also urged local residents to continue to refrain from burning solid fuel and added anyone looking to upgrade from an open-hearth fireplace or older wood stove to something cleaner should consider taking advantage of its Burn Cleaner incentive program.
The program provides up to $3,000 for equipment such as electric heat pumps or natural gas inserts. Information is available online at www.valleyair.org/burncleaner.